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China's first capsule hotel opened in Xi'an

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1 China's first capsule hotel opened in Xi'an on Wed 16 May 2012, 7:57 pm

From food to TV shows, Japanese culture is hugely popular in China. And with the opening of Xi’an Youth Capsule Hotel (西安青年太空舱宾馆), the trend recently extended to the travel industry.

Popular among young travelers

Occupying an entire floor of a commercial plaza near Xi’an Train Station, this hotel is reported to be the nation’s first licensed capsule hotel. Opened on April 26, it cost RMB 1.5 million to fit out and contains 86 orange-color capsules in nine rooms.

“The hotel has gain popularity among young travelers, especially students,” said Xu Meijiang (许美江), manager and one of the investors in the hotel. “Our hotel was completely full during the Labor Day holidays and maintains 50-60 percent occupancy in normal days.”

Many guests are not even travelers. “They’re simply curious about this Japanese lodging culture and they come to experience it,” said Xu.

Each capsule is 120 centimeters wide, 210 centimeters long and 125 centimeters high and costs as little as RMB 59-65 per night. It comes with free Wi-Fi and a 15.6-inch foldable flat-screen TV set.

More on CNNGo: Capsule hotel coming to Hong Kong

Ta Zan (塔赞), a Chinese businessman, attempted to open a capsule hotel in Shanghai last January, but the 300-square-meter space was immediately closed down by the local government over safety concerns during its soft opening.

What is your capsule: Aries, Leo or Virgo?

Like many other products in China -- from credit cards to cosmetics -- the 480-square-meter Xi’an capsule hotel carries a Western zodiac theme. Staff at reception assign guests to different star-sign zones upon check-in. The guests cannot select their own zone unless there are "special circumstances."

According to Xu, Western star signs have grown to be such a key culture in China and it’s a way for her hotel to attract young travelers.

The Aries and Virgo zones are for female guests only “because the names sound tender in Chinese culture,” and the Taurus and Sagittarius are male-only sleepers. The rest of the signs are mixed dorms.

More on CNNGo: Capricorns are cheap and Virgos prefer the south

The hotel has designated Leo a zone for guests who snore at night.

“Chinese travelers are concerned that a hotel like this will be very noisy, that’s why we set up the snoring zone,” said Xu.

“Our reception will check with fat and elderly guests when they arrive to see whether or not they snore,” she added.

"Luxury VIP suites" are available for group travelers who wish for some privacy. Each of them contains four to eight capsules.

A dedicated oxygen room

The Xi’an capsule hotel provides a feature even Japanese guests will find quirky: an oxygen room.

The 200-square-meter area is decked out with plants and what Xu called “special equipment” to pump out “negative oxygen ions.” Xu said the free amenity is to give guests a totally relaxed and refreshing environment.

While inhaling pure oxygen, guests can also use various entertainment facilities in the area, such as table games.

More on CNNGo: A little kinky, a lot weird: China's 'out there' hotel features

Xu decided to invest in Xi’an Capsule Youth after the success of her previous business project, a capsule apartment near Xi’an’s university area (it’s basically a capsule hotel without extra amenities and facilities).

She stays optimistic about the future of capsule hotel in Xi’an not only because the ancient capital’s tourism is soaring but also because the hotel is “economic” and “eco-friendly.”

Xi’an Youth Capsule Hotel
Building 7, Wanda Plaza, Mingle Yuan
Xincheng District, Xi'an
(500 meters south of Xi'an Train Station)
西安市新城区民乐园万达广场7号楼, 火车站南500米
Nightly rate: RMB 59-65 per capsule

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